How Common Is Osteoporosis?

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How Common Is Osteoporosis?

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Osteoporosis is a major public health problem that affects over 2 million Canadians. In Canada, about 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 8 men over age 50 have osteoporosis.1

  • After a person reaches his or her peak bone-building years, around age 30, the bones slowly begin to thin. This process accelerates after age 45 or 55. Osteoporosis usually does not have a noticeable effect on people until they are 60 or older.
  • Women generally have less bone mass than men and lose bone mass sooner and faster than men.
  • Women are far more likely to have osteoporosis than men.2
  • Women of European and Asian ancestry are more likely to have osteoporosis than those of African ancestry.
  • About 1 out of 2 women and 1 out of 4 men older than 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.3
  • Most hip fractures in older women are related to osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is rare in children and teens. Osteoporosis that occurs in children and teens usually is caused by other medical conditions or by taking certain medicines known to cause osteoporosis.

Related Information



  1. Osteoporosis Canada (2010). What is osteoporosis? Available online:
  2. Anderson JJB (2008). Nutrition and bone health. In LK Mahan, S Escott-Stump, eds., Krause's Food and Nutrition Therapy, 12th ed., pp. 614–635. St. Louis: Saunders Elsevier.
  3. National Institutes of Health (2011). Osteoporosis overview. Available online:


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Carla J. Herman, MD, MD, MPH - Geriatric Medicine
Last Revised January 6, 2011

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